The video: Thick clusters of hairy yeti crabs, carnivorous seven-pronged starfish, and a new species of octopus were among the creatures discovered living near deep-sea vents off the coast of Antarctica, in what scientists are calling a "lost world" (see a video below). Camera-equipped submersibles captured hordes of strange, newly discovered creatures roaming in the dark waters 2,700 yards beneath the surface — a place where sunlight is incapable of penetrating and energy is instead provided by hydrothermal cracks in the sea floor. "We were absolutely stunned to see the animal communities," says expedition leader Alex Rogers. "They were so different from the hydrothermal vents seen elsewhere."
The reaction: While deep-sea springs around the world typically play host to "unusual life forms," what's most intriguing about this mission is what scientists didn't find, says The Australian. In other oceans, animals like giant worms, crabs, clams, and shrimp have all been found near these chimney-like vents, commonly found near volcanoes. Here there was none of that, suggesting that communities living near deep-sea vents are "unable to migrate to other parts of the globe's sea floor." Essentially, it means that vent biogeography is "far more complex than we had realized," marine biologist Jon Copley tells Nature, and the ocean is endlessly more diverse than we could have imagined. Have a look:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Everything you need to know about the voter ID controversy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
Subscribe to the Week